Opposite fates for plea deals in local sex-related cases
One plea agreement was denied, while a second was taken under advisement by the judge as a pair of cases involving alleged acts of sexual misconduct with underage girls progressed through the local court system.
Appearing at a change of plea hearing Thursday afternoon, Monty R. Rader, 45, Greencastle, had agreed to plead guilty to child solicitation, a Class D felony, in exchange for time served and no probation.
The plea agreement in question also provides the state not seek the habitual offender tag for Rader, who has been in jail on the child solicitation charge since Jan. 26.
Putnam Circuit Court Judge Mathew Headley rejected that plea agreement, however, and ordered an Oct. 10 trial date in a case in which Rader is alleged to have sent sexually oriented text messages to a girl who was 13 years old at the time on Dec. 3, 2011.
Rader is already on probation through Marion County, it was noted in court, and is due for a hearing there Wednesday on a probation violation.
"Unless he gets some significant time in Marion County, I'm not going to accept this (plea agreement)," Judge Headley said.
Rader's lawyer, Jessie Ann Cook of Terre Haute, told the judge Marion County officials were apparently waiting on the outcome of the Putnam County case before deciding what sentence to impose on her client.
"So he could walk?" Headley asked, realizing there is no guarantee Marion County would add time to Rader's sentence.
"Then the court rejects the plea," Headley said. "I'm not going to accept that. It's too great a risk for the community."
He advised Cook and Rader to "go up to Marion County and plead to a probation violation," indicating he would then be "more than happy" for the case to come back before him.
Justin Long of the Prosecutor's Office said someone in the teenage girl's family had notified Rader that she was only 13.
"And you never called again?" Long asked.
"Right," Rader responded.
Judge Headley, however, asked directly of the defendant, "So you knew at the time the person you were soliciting for sexual favors was under age 14?"
"Yes" is all Rader said in response.
Another issue with the proposed plea deal was that Rader planned to reside at his mother's home on Washington Street upon his release. However, that house is reportedly within 1,000 feet of Greencastle High School property (specifically the tennis courts and faculty parking area, although it is apparently more than 1,000 feet away from the door to the school building).
Rader did say he could live elsewhere with another family member if his mother's home did not comply with the letter of the law.
He is due back in Putnam Circuit Court Sept. 26 for an 11:30 a.m. pretrial conference. The Oct. 10 trial is set to begin at 8:30 a.m.
In another change of plea hearing Thursday afternoon, the court took the plea deal under advisement in the case of Michael Vance, 22, Greencastle, who had been charged with sexual misconduct with a minor, a Class C felony.
Vance, represented by public defender Sid Tongret, agreed to plead guilty to deviate sexual conduct, a Class D felony, in exchange for time served (18 days credit), three years probation and 32 hours of community service.
He was charged with having sexual contact with a 15-year-old girl while he was 21. Vance was arrested in late January and bonded out of the Putnam County Jail on Feb. 6.